Gifted & Talented in Academics

Gifted and Talented in Academics: Application and Identification


Students identified as Gifted and Talented in Academics have access to many pathways through CHRHS. 

As ninth graders, students have access to all 9th grade honors and college prep options as well as Honors Integrated Humanities.  Honors Integrated Humanities combines English and Social Studies in a blended, project-based format. However, we want families to be aware that even though the course is listed in the Gifted/Talented section of the course guide, ANY student, whether identified as G/T or not, may enroll in the course. Identified students will be given priority when scheduling.

Additionally, it is important to know that ALL rising ninth-graders who wish to be identified as Gifted/Talented for the high school programs will need to go through the high school screening process. This is true for students who are currently identified as Gifted and Talented in middle school. Because of the way state law defines Giftedness, it is a common practice to reassess students’ eligibility as they advance through school.

Luckily, the identification process has been designed to be low-impact. For all students who wish to go through the screening, you can request that your middle school pass your relevant information (such as report cards and test scores) along to the high school, and the screening committee will mee to identify students who meet the criteria. In addition to this information, there are a few additional steps that parents and students will need to take on their own:

1] Below, on this website, locate the three different online referral forms used to collect information from students and parents who are choosing to take part in the screening.   Note that the process requires students to submit a self-referral and at least one other form (parent or teacher). If students would like teachers to refer them, it is up to the students and/or their parents to request this of teachers at the earliest possible time. Please be considerate of teachers’ time in making these requests. Please reach out to Sara Cole-Pardun with questions.

2] Students are asked to submit at least one example of academic work that demonstrates their intellectual capabilities. These may include writing samples or projects. There is a place on the student referral form to upload.  These may also  submitted by email (.pdf from written files, .jpeg for photos) to Sara Cole-Pardun, Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator, at [email protected]. Please submit these no later than May 1, 2023.

3] We ask that students take the NWEAs in reading and math.  Any student in the 95 percentile and above is encouraged to submit for identification. A secondary measure we can use is the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. Please reach out to Sara Cole-Pardun if you would like to take this assessment as part of your identification process.   The assessment takes about 1 hour, and is unlike any other standardized assessment in that it does not have any right answers—in fact, it is designed to assess the uniqueness and creativity of students’ responses. Please let us know if you would like to participate in this assessment so that Sara Cole-Pardun can bring enough materials. If you require an individualized time for the assessment, please contact Sara Cole-Pardun directly at [email protected].

If you have further questions about the G/T program, the screening process, or identification, please feel free to direct questions to Sara Cole-Pardun at the email address above.

Screening and Identification Process

General Intellectual Ability and/or Subject Specific Aptitude

Step 1: Fill out Referral Forms - To begin the application process, referrals are needed from the student and at least one other source: a teacher or a parent. It is certainly acceptable, and encouraged, to submit referral forms of all three types-- and perhaps more than one teacher referral (from different teachers) but this is not required. All of these referral forms are electronic, and the links are below. When submitted, they are shared directly with the Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator, who then shares them with the identification committee at the appropriate time. We highly encourage students to fill out a self-referral form, it is always best to hear directly from you about how you think!


Parent Referral Form-- G/T Program
Teacher Referral Form-- G/T Program
Student Self-Referral Form-- G/T Program

These forms are all designed to provide a sense of the student's learning style-- they are NOT indicators of intelligence or ability. The information they provide will be used by the identification committee to gain a sense of the whole child.

Step 2: Submit Grades and Test Scores and Sample- Once these referrals (again, at least two of the three types) have been submitted, the following materials should be emailed in .pdf form to Sara Cole-Pardun, (the Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator), to be included in the student's application packet:

  • The child's most recent report card, or an up-to-date transcript;
  • Reports of recent, available standardized test scores (NWEA, PSAT, SBAC, MEA, etc.);
  • Students should submit at least one work sample they feel represents their abilities and interests .This could be a creative writing piece, a formal writing piece, projects that the student has made (either for school or perhaps for a special exhibit, such as a Maker's Fair or 4-H project), or other meaningful products. If the project involves a demonstration or a physical product that cannot be submitted, photos, video, and/or a written description may be shared.At least 1 but up to 5 samples of student work should be submitted. This is included in the student referral form. Work can also be shared electronically with the Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator ([email protected]).

The Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator will keep these on file and share them with the identification committee at the appropriate time. All materials will be kept confidential. If grades and/or standardized test scores are not available (for example, if a student has been homeschooled or has recently moved), please contact the Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator ([email protected]) with a written explanation.

Step 3: Make sure you take the fall or spring NWEAs. You may also elect to take the Creativity Assessment- All students applying for the Gifted and Talented Program in Academics will be assessed using normed NWEA scores. Any current CHRHS student who has not yet been identified as Gifted/Talented may also contact the Gifted and Talented Program Coordinator to start the identification process at any time.

Identification for the Gifted and Talented Program in Academics

Once all materials have been submitted as explained in the steps above, they will be reviewed holistically by the identification committee, which will identify students who are eligible for participation in the program. Students who have applied for identification, together with their parents, will be notified by mail of the status of their application.

Program Rationale - An Emphasis on Creativity
The Gifted and Talented Program in Academics and the Arts at CHRHS anchor the Five Town CSD’s educational opportunities for identified G/T students. The State-approved programs serve students with both demonstrated and potential exceptional abilities in intellectual, academic, and artistic areas in the visual and performing arts. The Gifted and Talented Program at CHRHS includes an array of academic opportunities including: personized education plans overseen by the G/T coordinator, unique coursework at the high school and college levels, specially designed independent studies (often with community mentors), advanced language tutorials, concurrent enrollment courses, U-Maine System college courses, and other learning experiences appropriate for gifted, talented, and highly creative students.
The regularly scheduled Gifted and Talented courses at CHRHS offer challenging, fast-paced, integrative, and conceptually complex curricula. The central focus of these courses is the development of creativity through project-based learning, emphasizing investigation and innovation.


Independent Study - Application Link

Any CHRHS student may apply for an independent study opportunity in an area of interest. During the add/drop periods, students may link directly to the Independent/Directed Study application from this website.


Independent/Directed Study Application Link

At other times during the school year, Independent/Directed Study applications are only available to students under special circumstances. Any student who has a compelling reason to arrange an Independent or Directed Study at a time OTHER than a typical add/drop period should have his or her Guidance Counselor contact Sara Cole-Pardun, G/T Program Coordinator, to make the necessary arrangements. Typically, this type of exception will only be made when a student is at risk of failure to graduate on time without a special arrangement.